Spring Cheer

The past couple of week’s have been marred by lingering colds and days off school and Kindi. However the girls haven’t been so ill that they’ve lolled around at home all day, so they’ve still needed a run out in the fresh air by mid-afternoon. Thankfully, fine spring weather has given us plenty to smile about. They’ve been riding their bikes like crazy around the house and managed a good hour or so along Wellington waterfront the other day (with me part jogging to keep up!). Ice-cream stops at The Lagoon and Oriental Parade were called for to fuel the bikers. The pair of them are completely bonkers and, whilst I’m busy scrubbing or cooking, there is a constant background sound of hysterical laughter. It’s so wonderful that they’ve reached this stage of sisterhood and brings back so many happy memories of my own childhood with my sister.

Last weekend was Fathers Day in New Zealand, with the mandatory breakfast in bed served up by the girls. We had a fabulous weekend of sunshine and spent Saturday up the Kapiti Coast, horse-riding, beach combing and feeding the animals at Lindale Farm.

Sunday we enjoyed a beautiful walk around Oriental Bay, starting off on the high ground looking down over the city, before running down to the bay for ice-creams (and a dip for Sophie up to her shoulders, brrr). The girls called it ‘The roller-coaster walk’, as there were lots of ups and downs for them to run like crazy on.

We are counting down to the end of Term 3 here and there are only two more week’s before the holiday, when we’re off to sunny Nelson for a week. We so enjoyed our last holiday there and have been feeling very relaxed at the thought of another visit.

Charli has been really busy at school with the ‘School Production’. Her school put on a production once every two years and it’s a large scale event. It is being staged at an intermediate, senior school next week. The whole school are going there tomorrow morning for a full-dress rehearsal before the performance on Wednesday and Thursday night. They’ll be exhausted by Friday! They’ve been practicing every day for much of this term and we’ve heard the songs over and over again at home. We know them so well that we’ll be singing along on show night!

This weekend has been a full on one of activities, with glorious sunshine today and rain yesterday. We decided to take a family outing to the cinema on Saturday morning (which we rarely do) and went to see the movie ‘Up‘ in 3D. It is the first time we’ve seen a 3D movie and it was quite an amazing experience! The only down-side was the glasses were not adjustable and were far to big for the girls and me (as I have such a pin-head!). It was an entertaining movie, though a little long for Sophie and the dogs scarred her a bit. There was one Doberman thats voice ‘box’ transmitter had got screwed up and the dog was speaking in a squeaky, poodle voice, which had Dan in tears with laughter. A few laughs for the adults and the children alike. The beginning was very touching and had some nice moments. All up, a pleasant way to spend a rainy Saturday morning.

In the ‘avo we returned home. Dan kept the girls happy whilst I tackled one of the many cupboards on my list to reorganize and clear-out. I also braved under our bed, which had a ridiculous pile of magazines and newspapers. By late afternoon I was relieved to hear Dan rounding up the troops for a swim and we all headed out for a fabulous splash around. Another family from school were there, so Charli was made up to play with one of her class-mates and Sophie enjoyed the company of the rest of the children. After plenty of diving through hoops and pulling faces at each other under water we headed across the road for a Thai meal at the Siam Thai Restaurant in Kilbirnie. It was the perfect way to finish off the day and we raised our glasses in a toast to Aunty Claire (my sis) in honour of her Birthday (hope you had a good one Claire – no doubt climbing somewhere in the British countryside?). The girls were on their best behavior and made us very proud. The food was delicious and arrived at our table in record time. We lingered for coconut ice-cream and lychees for dessert, after Sophie kindly asked to see the dessert menu.

Today, in the glorious sunshine we headed to the Botanical Gardens to see the spring colours and we spent a fabulous four hour’s there. We walked through the tulips and admired the blossom trees, daffodils and magnolia trees. Lunch was enjoyed at The Picnic Cafe, where we stopped to admire orchids in the Begonia House and let the fish ‘kiss’ our fingers. After lunch, we sauntered down into the city, via the Bolton St Memorial Park, home to Wellington’s oldest cemetery, which dates back to 1840, before riding the cable car back up the hill. Charli took the most wonderful photographs for a ‘Spring’ photography competition she’s entering:

After riding the cable car we took our time wondering down the hill back to our car. We stopped off for some fun at the playground and to admire the most fabulous blossom tree. The girls enjoyed climbing in the twisting, low branches.

We’ve had a few nice family outings in the past couple of weeks. The other weekend we were given free tickets by a friend at school to see ‘Feet with Heat’ – a Dance Extravaganza that my friend’s hubbie was MC’ing and singing in. It was the evening after our trip up the Kapiti coast and visit to Lindale. Thankfully Sophie had taken a nap on the way back, so she was energised for the evening. The show of more than 150 dancers exhibited dances from around the world and in a multitude of styles. It was a real treat for us all to be out together on a Saturday night and the girls lasted till half way through the second half before their eyes started dropping. They so enjoyed all the different styles, sitting entranced to watch Scottish, Pacific, Chinese, Polish, South American and even moon-belly dancing!

And Dan and I have enjoyed independent night’s out with our friends. Dan dined at the Southern Cross with friends on Thursday, which he said served up a fabulous meal at a good price. And I had the wonderful pleasure of dining at the Eateria De Manon in Newtown. I caught up with friends of old, from before children days, and we all vowed to not leave it so long till we repeated the experience. The meal was absolutely mouth-watering and the restaurant was very French indeed. Walking through the doors into the warm interior we were greeted to French music, a roaring fire and an interior design straight out of central Europe. It was like stepping through a window into France and perfect escapism.

And at home I’ve been continuing to escape too – into the pages of Phillipa Gregory’s novel ‘The Queen’s Fool‘ – which I loved immensely. Two friends have recommended I read Sharon Kay Penman’s novels and having had a quick perusal I am very much looking forward into delving into some Medieval historical fiction.

My thoughts have been with my family in England this week, as they joined together to celebrate my cousin Kevin’s wedding. It looks like a fabulous event (as are all Aspinall family weddings!). My Mum and Dad had the company of my Dad’s sister and her husband, visiting from their home in Toronto, Canada, and they all looked fabulous for the big day (but then I am biased!).

Here’s my cousin Kevin, with his beautiful bride, his Mum and Dad, sister Jane (bridesmaid), and brother (on the right) Graham, with his lovely wife and son:

Here’s Mum and Dad (on the right) with my Uncle Roy and Auntie Jean:

Mum and Dad are now in Italy, with a group of friends, enjoying the festive celebrations of their neighbour’s daughter, who is getting married in Santa Margherita Liguria, which is 3km from Portofino – all part of the Gulf of Tigullio (where Wayne Rooney got married in 2008). They are also traveling along the coast a little bit to the Cinque Terra. How wonderful!

To finish up, here’s a little video of Sophie riding at Stables on the Park, on the Kapiti Coast. This was good value for money – with the choice of a ten-minute, twenty-minute, or longer ride. The cost was literally a dollar a minute. We opted for twenty-minutes and she rode a lovely old show-jumper called Tinsel (born on Christmas Day twenty two year’s ago). It was much more scenic than the Capital Riding Academy, where we normally go, and it was nice to have someone to lead the horse, so that we could relax and amble alongside.